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Colorado House approves new rules for oil and gas industry

Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” The Colorado House approved new rules for the oil and gas industry on Friday and sent them to the Senate, despite strong opposition from the industry and employees who warned the rules will cost more jobs.

The bill passed 50-13, with Republicans split on the issue.

House Minority Leader Mike May of Parker, who voted for the bill, said his GOP colleagues may not agree with all of the rules but said the measure affects more than just the oil and gas industry. The bill also included rules that regulate everything from providers of health care for women to mortgage lending and inspection of child care facilities.

Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, voted no. He said the rules are already killing jobs in the oil and gas industry at a time the state can’t afford it.

He said Washington County relies on the industry for 40 percent of its tax base.

“Don’t stand up here and say we’re not hurting their jobs until you look them in the eye,” Gardner challenged his colleagues.

Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, said homeowners on the Western Slope are suffering from asthma, contaminated water, noise and smell from the well drilling and urged House members to come to her district and look them in the eye as well.

“We’re going to develop that resource. We have to more forward with it. But we don’t have to leave a sacrificial zone in the process,” she said.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission drew up the rules at the direction of the Legislature, which wanted more protections for public health, private property and the environment.

In December, the commission approved 100 new or amended rules, which go into effect April 1 if approved by the Legislature. State officials say the regulations balance industry and environmental interests.

National conservation groups following the energy boom in the Rockies are watching what happens to Colorado’s regulations. Trade groups argue the rules will increase costs and wait times for drilling permits and that uncertainty about how the rules will play out have led companies to reduce investment in Colorado.

The 50-13 roll call by which the Colorado House adopted a measure (House Bill 1292) to regulate the oil and gas industry on Friday.

Voting yes were 36 Democrats and 14 Republicans.

Voting no were 1 Democrat and 12 Republicans.

Democrats voting yes: Dennis Apuan, Colorado Springs; Debbie Benefield, Arvada; Terrance Carroll, Denver; Edward Casso, Thornton; Lois Court, Denver; Kathleen Curry, Gunnison; Mark Ferrandino, Denver; Randy Fischer, Fort Collins; Jerry Frangas, Denver; Sara Gagliardi, Arvada; Gwyn Green, Golden; Dicky Lee Hullinghorst, Longmont; Joel Judd, Denver; John Kefalas, Fort Collins; Andrew Kerr, Lakewood; Jeanne Labuda, Denver; Claire Levy, Boulder; Elizabeth McCann, Denver; Buffie McFadyen, Pueblo West; Anne McGihon, Denver; Michael Merrifield, Manitou Springs; Karen Middleton, Aurora; Joe Miklosi, Denver; Sal Pace, Pueblo; Cherylin Peniston, Westminster; Jack Pommer, Boulder; Dianne Primavera, Broomfield; Joe Rice, Littleton; James Riesberg, Greeley; Sue Ryden, Aurora; Christine Scanlan, Silverthorne; Sue Schafer, Wheat Ridge; John Soper, Thornton; Nancy Todd, Aurora; Edward Vigil, Fort Garland; Paul Weissmann, Louisville.

Democrats voting no: Wes McKinley, Walsh.

Republicans voting yes: David Balmer, Centennial; Bob Gardner, Colorado Springs; Cheri Gerou, Evergreen; Jim Kerr, Littleton; Marsha Looper, Calhan; Don Marostica, Loveland; Mike May, Parker; Frank McNulty, Highlands Ranch; Kevin Priola, Henderson; Ellen Roberts, Durango; Amy Stephens, Monument; Ken Summers, Lakewood; Spencer Swalm, Centennial; Glenn Vaad, Mead.

Republicans voting no: Cindy Acree, Aurora; Randy Baumgardner, Hot Sulphur Springs; Laura Bradford, Collbran; Cory Gardner, Yuma; Steve King, Grand Junction; Kent Lambert, Colorado Springs; Larry Liston, Colorado Springs; Carole Murray, Castle Rock; B.J. Nikkel, Loveland; Jerry Sonnenberg, Sterling; Scott Tipton, Cortez; Mark Waller, Colorado Springs.


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